Friday, April 1, 2011

Real Money

Millions, billions, trillions.  Unfortunately, in the on-going budget debate, these words fail to represent anything like real money for the average American.  Heck, even as just words they've simply become  synonyms for "a lot".

My favorite way of helping someone get their minds around the incredible numbers routinely and nonchalantly thrown around in Washington is to ask them whether or not they can imagine spending one-thousand dollars a day.  That's still a good deal of money for most people (me too), but they can at least imagine it.  I ask them to imagine further that I gave them one-million dollars cash and instructed them to spend one-thousand of it each day.  How long will the million last?  One-thousand per day means 365-thousand per year.  So, a little less than three years.  Correct.  I then ask them to try imagining me giving them one-billion dollars instead.  Spending at the same rate of one-thousand dollars a day, how long will the billion last?  Most people freeze here.  The answer, of course, is a little less than 3,000 years.  3,000 years!!??  Yep, 3,000 years.

The numbers currently being argued over are a $3.7 trillion-dollar budget and $61 billion-dollars worth of Republican proposed cuts.  Trillions, billions?  They're just words that mean "a lot".

Let's go the other direction and try to get our minds around how small these cuts are actually are.

If the $3.7 trillion dollar annual budget was instead an average Joe's $37,000-a-year salary, how much cutting are the Republicans actually proposing?  Are you ready?  $610.  That's right, six-hundred and ten dollars per year.  Now, if that same average Joe is maxed out on his credit cards and overdrawn at his bank, would you consider a $610-a-year, belt-tightening fix, "extreme"?  For heaven's sake, that's less than $12 bucks a week.  He probably spends that much on beer and cigarettes alone.

Real money I tell ya.     


  1. Sage:
    I just wanted to say what a roll you have been on here lately. The last handful have really been great articles one after the other. Your pointed wit is like strafing machine gun fire against the onslaught of the statist looneys. Keep 'em on their heels Sage!

  2. Didn't some former governor of Alaska say, "Don't retreat, just reload!"?